A Montana lawmaker sued Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl on Friday for saying the legislator faces penalties for revealing a confidential ethics complaint he filed against Gov. Steve Bullock, a lawsuit Motl said was timed to sway voters in a close governor’s race.
The attorney for Rep. Brad Tschida, R-Missoula, says in the federal lawsuit that Motl’s threat of penalties has silenced him and prevents him from performing legislative acts.
“Motl is violating Rep. Tschida’s First Amendment right to free speech by threatening him with criminal sanctions for communicating with fellow legislators concerning an inherently legislative duty,” wrote Tschida’s attorney, Matthew Monforton, who is also a Republican representative from Bozeman.
Motl responded that Tschida violated the confidentiality provision again by recounting the contents of the ethics complaint in the lawsuit- and he has now brought Monforton into the mess.